Select Committee on Culture, Media and Sport Minutes of Evidence

Examination of Witnesses (Questions 35 - 39)




  35. Thank you very much indeed for coming to see us again with Mr Stubbs. Mr Fearn is going to begin the questions.
  (Sir Rodney Walker) Thank you.

Mr Fearn

  36. Good morning. What difference have you made since you became Chairman?

  (Sir Rodney Walker) I do not think I can at this stage claim to have made any difference. I have spent the weeks since my appointment interrogating the entire project both from a design point of view and from a business point of view and I think the fact that I have been unable to identify any significant errors in any aspects of the stadium is itself a tribute to Mr Bates and the work that he has done on the project. It is a matter of record that I have, on a number of previous occasions and I am happy to repeat today, said that I think that, in the fullness of time when the new stadium is built, the project will owe a great debt of gratitude to Ken Bates for his dynamism in driving the project forward to the point that was reached in December 2000.

  37. Why did you decide to close Wembley Stadium before the financial package was in place?
  (Sir Rodney Walker) The decision to close Wembley was not mine; that occurred prior to my appointment.

  38. Would you say that was a mistake?
  (Sir Rodney Walker) No, I do not think so. The decision to close Wembley was taken because, at the time, it was believed that the funding proposal that was taken would have received the appropriate level of support. I suspect that, had we known or had it been known earlier last year that the funding of the new stadium was to be delayed, it may well be that the decision taken would have been different, but perhaps Mr Stubbs, who was part of that, might well enlighten you further.

  39. I am really after how much profit you have lost by closing it too early.
  (Sir Rodney Walker) Mr Stubbs will answer that question for you.
  (Mr Stubbs) Effectively, the way it has worked is that the FA are continuing to pay the sums they would have paid if they were playing their matches there. So, in terms of looking at WNSL as a free-standing entity, the loss of profit is not a real issue because we are still being paid by the FA under the existing staging agreement as if the matches were played there, so we are still a solvent business because of that.

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